When Does Your Employer Have To Reimburse You For Work Related Expenses?
More and more, many of us work from home, from the road, or we travel as part of our work duties. All of these situations often entail expenses that we wouldn’t have, if we were a traditional in-office worker. Did you know that California requires that your employer reimburse you for any expenses that you may incur, as a result of doing your job outside of the office—including when you work from home?
Expenses Must be Necessary
One big area of controversy is what kind of expense is necessary to do your job; the law doesn’t require that your employer reimburse you for expenses that are just more convenient for you.
You and your employer can (and may) differ on what is truly necessary to do your job, and what is optional. Areas where employers often argue that they do not need to reimburse you are for things like higher speed wi-fi, bigger or better computer monitors, or more comfortable in-home office furniture.
Of course, some things, like road tolls when you travel for work, or special software you need to do your job remotely, or your office supplies in your home office, could be considered necessary and thus reimbursable.
Work Must be Required
There is another caveat or exception to the reimbursement requirement, however: Your employer only has to reimburse you if you have to work out of the office, or if working out of the office is part of your job duties—your employer does not have to reimburse you when you choose for you won convenience to work remotely.
Some bills are used for both personal and work use, such as your cell phone. Your employer doesn’t have to reimburse you for all of your cell phone bill, but would have to reimburse you for a percentage of your bill that roughly equates to the amount of your phone’s usage that goes for work.
The same goes for home internet or wifi expenses. The reimbursement obligation applies, even if you have unlimited plans, that don’t actually cost you extra because you are using your devices or wi-fi for work.
Your employer also may have to reimburse you for your home (or remote, if you travel for work) computer equipment, even if you had that equipment anyway, before you worked for your employer.
Travel and Driving Expenses
For those who do travel, your gas must be reimbursed by your employer, as well as mileage and some wear and tear expenses. You don’t have to be full time on the road either; even if part of your job requires you work remotely or travel, your employer must reimburse you for these expenses. However, this does not include expenses related to traveling from your home to the office and back.
Is your employer treating you fairly? Contact the San Jose employment law lawyers at the Costanzo Law Firm today to see what your rights in your workplace are.